A Liftime in Gatlinburg

Maddox, Marie. (1993) A Lifetime in Gatlinburg: Martha Cole Whaley Remembers. History Press: Charleston, SC.

This is a delightful book written by Marie Maddox from interviews with Martha Whaley. What a treasure. I fell on it at a yard sale. Since I’m writing a novel based in the hills “back in the day,” I thought it might give me some interesting information, and it didn’t disappoint. Martha was 103 at the writing and revealed how to stay healthy and live to old age. Nothing new but so inspirational: cut back on meat, eat veggies, exercise more, and be social. (My Aunt Nikolena suggested the same and lived to 104.). Ms. Maddox walked a mile every day—what an example. I was so motivated I started walking again, and I must buy more veggies, too, since I’ve been slacking there.

Great stories throughout including her loving marriage. Those from or who visit the Smoky Mountain region will love it as will anyone interested in how people lived happy lives without the accouterments we have today. No electricity, no running water, making soap, fetching coal and wood, canning, etc. How did they do it!? And they were happy. Okay—confession time. I’m not giving up the Internet, my cell phone, my car, AC & heat, and a bunch of other things, so I’m not going back to 1920s in the hills. But the book helped me be more thankful for the many gifts I have. It might help you recognize your good gifts as well, and your children might like to learn how people used to live and see just how fortunate they are today.